Thursday, December 9, 2010

Community Connections

Recently I attended the North Carolina Public Library Directors annual awards banquet which I love because it's a great place to witness the creativity of North Carolina's library staff. This year I was impressed with Robeson County Public Library's award winning program Polar Express Comes to Life. The library joined with the city to present a wonderful holiday program centering around the Polar Express movie. The library's, new Teen Theatre group, wrote a script, made costumes and props and presented a production at the community's film presentation of the Polar Express. This was a wonderful partnership between the county and the library highlighting the talented teens from the Teen Theatre Program. And this wasn't just a one time event - the teens travel around the county putting on plays at each of the county's libraries for children during their regular storytime.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Upcoming Marketing Workshop


The NCLA/Public Library section has developed a great workshop on Maximizing your Marketing with Minimal Costs. The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17 AND the great news is you can have access to all the content by checking out our wiki at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thanks - ProQuest

Thanks to vendor ProQuest for offering free help for its customers. It's released an updated version of the free marketing toolkit that it's had online for some time.
"The Public Library Marketing Toolkit aims to help librarians develop successful, actionable, and sustainable marketing plans, even if they don't have backgrounds in marketing or promotion. It includes many ready-to-use bookmarks, customizable posters, and fliers designed to save individual organizations the time and money of having materials created on-site. There's also a Flash commercial, along with patron-centric database descriptions for the library Website and links to training materials for both librarians and their users."

The Toolkit is available now, for free, from the ProQuest website at

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Like Buttons

I've been working on a word of mouth marketing presentation and came up with a great idea that I think would be perfect for a library webpage. You know on facebook and other sites they often have a "like" button or comment. Wouldn't it be great if we had these on our library websites and encouraged folks to click on the like button and post some comments. How great - we could then use those comments to tell our story AND we could ask those folks to tell their friends!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Campaign Kick Off a Big Success

Last week was the statewide Smartest Card Campaign kick off - what a success. The Randolph County Public Library hosted the event and organized an "open mike", featuring our campaign spokesperson, Cathy Smith Bowers, and several local poets. What an excellent partnership between the library and its' community. Cathy entertained the audience with stories about her childhood which gave insight into her poem that she shared, entitled "Namesake." Members from the local writers network shared their work and local resident Phil Shore closed the evening with a reading of his poem about the library card. You can view Phil's reading at

Also check out some great pictures of the event

In addition we had a webinar to share great ideas on promoting your smartest card campaign. The webinar is now archived you can listen at

Put your thinking hats on - Poetry Month is in April - think about agencies you can partner with and programs you can provide to your public.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Library Card Sign Up - North Carolina's Statewide Campaign

North Carolina is gearing up once again for library card sign up. Salute to all of our public libraries for their participation in our statewide campaign. As in previous years we have a state spokesperson - Cathy Smith Bowers - North Carolina's poet laureate. Cathy has recorded a podcast, and we've created a spokesperson poster and news release. Our kick off will be on September 8th at the Randolph Public library at an "open mike" night.
Check out all the resources we have available.
Download the poster or podcast
Or if you'd like to read about great ideas that our libraries have done in previous years check out the marketing toolkit section -"strategies p.4".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Advocacy in Many Formats

Advocacy is always a hot topic for libraries. As the virtual world evolves there are so many ways we can expand our reach and education. Recently the New York Public Library had a video produced by Improv Everywhere as part of the library's "Don't close the book on libraries." What a fun way to spread the word.


I've recently been working on some advocacy issues and often refer to PLA's toolkit - Libraries Prosper with Passion, Purpose and Persuasion! If you haven't had the opportunity to use this toolkit - it's great. You might want to check it out - available for purchase from ALA.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We talked - They Listened

I just returned from ALA Rally Day in DC and what an exhilarating experience! I rode the bus with about 30 other folks from NC - including trustees, friends members, and other library staff, including our State Librarian Mary Boone - pictured here. Appointments were made prior to our arrival with our NC elected officials and we spent Tuesday afternoon travelling the halls of the senate and house. Along with a group of other librarians, friends and trustees I met with four elected officials. Each one spent personal time with us and was clearly engaged and interested in our library world. Bob Etheridge particularly appreciated our handouts and mentioned the importance of having "numbers to back up our stories." A great tool for that is the new updated wallet-sized, folded brochures called Quotable Facts About America's Libraries.

One quotable fact I found fascinating: " Amercans go to school, public and academic libraries nearly 3 times more than they go to the movies." So check it out and get some quotable facts today to share with friends, trustees and staff. Encourage everyone to choose their favorite and share it often.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Gold Mine - WebJunction NC

If you haven't take the time to explore WebJunction NC you're missing out on a real gold mine. I'm amazed at all the great marketing information - discussions, presentations, and courses. There's presentations on understanding marketing, branding, using 2.0 tools for marketing, and many more. The course list is comprehensive, including marketing plans, campaign planning, email marketing and new technology marketing.

So you ask how do I gain access. It's easy. As a North Carolina library staff member you can join WebJunction NC. Make sure you affiliate with NC - that gives you free access to courses. Go to and join - don't wait.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How Libraries Stack UP

Yesterday was "Hats off to Libraries" Day here in Raleigh. Many of our public library directors, friends, and trustees donned wonderful, colorful hats and visited with their legislators to encourage them to maintain state aid. One handout which impressed many legislators was the recently ALA published report - How Libraries Stack Up. I've attached the link so that you can adopt it for your community and share with your funders.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Telling Your Story

During these challenging times we hear how important it is to tell our story. We've been working on this for quite some time - using the advocacy toolkit by PLA; holding workshops and developing key stories. Recently one of our consultants compiled some key stats for our public libraries and used those stats to capture some interesting thoughts. I wanted to share some of them with you and encourage you to think of ways you could do this for your library.

North Carolinians visited public libraries 44 million times last year, which is equivalent to filling the Dean Dome 2,023 times, the RBC Center 2,231 times, or Carter Finley Stadium 733 times.

There were almost 5 times as many visitors to North Carolina's public libraries (44.1 million) than visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9.2 million --the most visited national park in the coutnry.)

Fifteen times more people attended library programs than the record attendance at an ACC Men's Basketball Tournament.

So what community comparisons can you make in regards to your library services?

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's all in the name

Someone recently shared this website which I found responds to many questions we often address. The site is intended to help library web developers decide how to label key resources and services in such a way that most users can understand them well enough to make productive choices. It compiles usability test data evaluating terminology on library websites, and suggests test methods and best practices for reducing cognitive barriers caused by terminology. I think this is very applicable to building design and signage also. The usability studies were fascinating. Looking at terms we often take for granted and how little they are understood by the public. It offers some great alternatives. check it out.
Library Terms that Users Understand:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Verification of What We Know to Be True

ALA released their 2010 State of America's Libraries report this week. No surprises, but I thought some of the findings might be useful. Yes we all know libraries are busier than ever with less staff and less funding. But what was interesting was the amount of supportive data pointing to the importance of our libraries during the economic hard times.
"The report shows the value of libaries in helping Americans combat the recession. It includes data from a January 2010 Harris Interactive Poll that provides compelling evidence that a decade-long trend of increasing library use is continuing- and even accelerating during economic hard times. More than 223 million Americans feel thatt because it provides free access to materials and resources, the public library plays an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed. So check out the report - maybe you can use some of the stats as a comparison to your library. Your local newspaper might be interested! The full text of the report is available at
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marketing to the Hispanic/Latino Populations

Tomorrow I'll be presenting at the Summer Reading workshop in Charlotte focusing on marketing the summer reading program to the Hispanic/Latino populations. An overview of my thoughts: Before we can improve our marketing efforts we must understand our audience. Many Hispanic cultures view libraries very differently. There are several misconceptions that affect how Latinos use the library. In my presentation I share these six misconceptions.
1. Libraries are for the educated.
2. The English term for library is confusing.
3. Libraries cost money, you have to pay for service.
4. There is a huge fear that libraries will pass on Personal information to governmental agencies.
5. Libraries have only English books.
6. Library use only -materials cannot leave the library.

Taking this and some of the cultural differences into consideration we can carefully plan our marketing efforts to the Hispanic community.

Tips On Preparing Marketing Materials
  • Emphasize the visual. Use color.

  • Emphasize the 4 F's - Free, Family, Food, Fun
  • Use their language

  • Get it down to basics

  • Get help reviewing translations

Much more information can be found on library services for the Hispanic/Latino populations in the Spanish outreach section at WebJunction. The attached poster was done by the Moline Public Library and does an excellent job demonstrating the marketing tips.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Money Saving Ideas at - How Public Libraries Can Save You Money

Money Saving Ideas at - How Public Libraries Can Save You Money

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Thought you might be interested in the recent article in Woman's Day magazine. It really exemplifies how powerful customer stories can be. I've seen some great newsletters in North Carolina that often include customer stories. Anyone have interesting ones they would like to share? Send them my way and I'll post. Remember most customers won't share until asked!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Social Media

Yes we all know that social media is essential in our communication efforts. I'll admit sometimes it's frustrating to find the time for social networking, but "The Social Pulpit" - how Obama used social media in his campaign is really inspiring. I really liked the way they combine social media with targeting audiences to get their message across. The spheres of cross-influence is a great public engagement model. So if you get a chance take a look at this, there are definitely some applications that would work in your library.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Electronic or Print?

Recently there were several examples on PR talk about annual reports. And the discussion centered on struggling with the issues of do we use print or electronic format. Personally I like the idea of using both. One can get great coverage with an electronic newsletter, but it's often nice to have some print copies. During my public library years, when I did a lot of speaking to community clubs it was always nice to have an annual report or some summary sheet to actually hand to participants. Check out these great examples, if you have others to share let me know and I'd be happy to post.